Startup Seeks To Add VIM To Web Video

As more marketers experiment with in-stream video advertising, rich media technology providers like Vimation have introduced products to help them deliver their message with sight, sound, and motion. The Newport Beach, Calif.-based startup produces an interactive video platform that enables marketers to make customized ad buys, including interactive product placements and 15- or 30-second spots.

On its Web site, Vimation is described as a "video interactive media agency." The company's flagship product, dubbed VIM, is "the ultimate product placement scenario," according to David Hemmingway, the company's president. VIM enables a marketer's product or brand to be placed within a video, where a consumer can scroll over it and click through to purchasing information if they want to interact with it.

VIM is a rich media module that can be integrated into a marketer's Web site. The interactive module enables consumers to browse or shop directly within the video without having to access drop-down menus or click on links or buttons. Hemmingway says Vimation can create customized interactive advertising experiences for marketers because its Flash-based technology also powers the content. VIM also offers advertisers data reports and customizable measurement tools, as well as targeting based on user profiles, time of day, or geographic location.

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Vimation isn't the only startup looking to serve the exploding online video market. Maven Networks, also a provider of broadband video technology, markets a software platform that enables marketers to add interactive features like pass-along e-mail postcards, shopping functions, and polling to online video. Maven's software has been used in online marketing programs for Virgin Records and Twentieth Century Fox.

Vimation's first client--ImaginAsianTV (iaTV), the 24-hour Asian cable TV network--will use VIM to power the online video on its Web site. For example, when users arrive at the iaTV home page, they are presented with a cityscape of the site's content within the VIM window. The cityscape includes branded, animated billboards on the tops of its skyscrapers, along with video screens of iaTV's movie, drama, animation, music, and documentary sections. Users can also navigate these sections within the video module in order to view programming previews, information, and extra features.

Michael Huh, vice president marketing, ImaginAsianTV, said the iaTV site is intended to be a marketing vehicle for the fledgling cable channel. In the longer term, he said he hopes the site will become an Asian American Web portal.

According to Huh, iaTV currently packages the customizable rich media ads with advertisers' offline TV buys. He declined to mention any advertisers, but said that iaTV is in discussions with several agencies that represent both Asian-oriented and mainstream advertisers. ImaginAsianTV went live on August 30, and has distribution agreements with Comcast in San Francisco, and Equity Broadcast in the Las Vegas and Denver markets.

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